A little late posting this one…
Training goes in cycles. Some days you’re flying and some days you feel like you’re dragging a dead donkey behind you. I’ve been enjoying a brief period of the former for the last week or so. Sundays run in the park was the first time I started to really feel good form coming on. Most of the time on this run I’ve been hiding in the group hoping that the pace doesn’t go higher so I don’t get spat out the back. Right from the start I felt good and just got better all the way. I did get a bit of a slap on the wrist for pushing the pace and I know I’ll pay for it in the coming weeks when I’m the one at the back hanging on by my fingernails and someone else is turning the screw. But I really enjoyed the feeling of returning fitness.
Monday we headed out for an easy hour to loosen the legs after Sundays run. Ais is a big believer in running the day after a long run. It teaches you to run on tired legs, always a good thing to be able to do at the back end of a marathon or Ironman.
Tuesday, New Years Eve, was a trail half marathon in Leixlip and again I was enjoying good legs. It was a very small race with only about 30 starters. We were delighted to get the invitation from Jarlath of Le Cheile run club to come along. The race was a point to point along the canal which meant it was flat but a lot of it was sloppy trail so in parts it was quite heavy going.
Myself Ais and Cillian started right at the back of the group and over the first 2-3 km started working our way through the field. At the 4km mark Ais told myself and Cillian to push on (I think I was annoying her a little pushing the pace and didn’t want to jeopardise my chances of Christmas pudding later on so I made myself scarce) I was feeling good and one after another picked off the runners ahead. Cillian was sitting comfortably on my shoulder. At about 8k I reckoned I could see the leaders in the distance, maybe 800mts ahead. I picked up the pace a little more. At around the 10k mark I had the gap down to about 2-300mts. My effort level was well up at this stage but I still felt good.
I was unsure how to pass the two leaders. I figured that because they were running together that one was probably working less than the other and was just waiting for the right time to make a move. I didn’t know if I should pick up the pace as I caught them and try to get a gap straight away or maybe sit in and wait a while before kicking. Just before I caught them one of them opened a gap and his mate started to drift backwards. The gap between them was opening slowly and I was still catching. I decided to make a move straight away and picked up the pace and moved through to the front. As I passed the leader he came with me and I picked up the pace again thinking that if I held it for a couple of hundred meters I would get a gap. I could still hear his breathing way longer than I had hoped and my effort level was high now. I was beginning to think I’d misjudged it and he wasn’t going to drop off, then mercifully he started to drop back. I held the pace as high as I could and as sometimes happens I settled into a rhythm at the faster speed. I was working hard now but enjoying the feeling of leading. Or at least I was fairly sure I was. I couldn’t take the chance of slowing incase there was someone else up ahead. After a while I glanced back to see Cillian coming through into third place. I reckoned he would pass for second soon enough. The pace slowed a bit as I hit a wet muddy patch and I was running scared again. What if I’m the only one slowing?? I dug in and tried to keep the pace up and before too long I could see the clubhouse and track on the left. I knew I only had a little over a km to go do pushed again and tried as much as possible to enjoy the finish. Cillian was less than a minute back after running a very clever and strong race considering it was only his second time at the distance. Ais came in second place not too far behind us with her usual big smile. She’s never happier than when she’s running, well maybe eating cake comes close.
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